“I have a superpower. I can’t fly, I can’t turn invisible and I’m pretty sure that a bullet would make me good and dead. The fact is, I am incapable of being lied to. When someone tells a lie – to me, to anyone – I know the truth.”
This a monologue from protagonist Dakota, an 18-year-old who’s just graduated from high school. On her way to an unknown destination, she recounts her life from the age of 17 – a darker, frankly nihilistic place where she believed the world was a deceit-filled cesspit.
As one of my favourite films, Dakota Skye is a fascinating and incredibly original piece of filmmaking and content. Heartbreaking and romantic (if you’re a regular here, you may have realised that the latter of these is something I REALLY don’t care for) this indie film certainly makes for an interesting watch, not least because it’s as though a friend is taking you through her journey of self discovery.
The plot is simple: a deeply troubled, disillusioned and broken young woman is born with the “power” to sense when someone is lying – either to her, or someone around her – and this power has structured her life in two ways:
- An inability for Dakota to form meaningful relationships with anyone
- Has led to her becoming a misanthropic and sensitive young woman.
This means Dakota has ever truly trusted anyone; she goes with flow and sees where her empty life will take her next.
As our heroine puts it herself:
I’m involuntarily cursed with the truth – something people spend their entire lives looking for. Lucky me.
As a child, Dakota loses her father to cancer. While in the hospital waiting room, she asks her mother:
Is daddy gonna be ok?
He’s going to be just fine.
Throughout the film, translations of people’s lies and what they really mean are subtitled:
Dakota’s mother hasn’t the heart to tell her daughter the truth, but the young girl already senses it.
But what happens when we meet our match? Our “archnemesis” as Dakota puts it? Unhappy with her life and equipped with an ‘everything is futile’ attitude, Dakota has a boyfriend (Kevin) simply because his looks don’t nauseate her and she doesn’t completely hate him. Along comes chance in the form of her boyfriend’s best friend Jonah, a mature and grounded young man who is endearingly honest about masturbation, porn – passing all of Dakota’s lie detector tests – and personal philosophy. Consequently, Jonah triggers off every one of Dakota’s senses except for her built-in lie detector.
Is Jonah being 100% truthful? Or is love making Dakota blind?
“The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be, and when they’re not – we cry” – David Duchovny.
Aside from the super-power addition, this intelligent, unique and thought-provoking film is almost as realistic as they come. With minimalist undertones (I’ll admit, it may be one of those films that when the end credits roll, there’s a risk of thing “what was the point of that?”) that I enjoy in films, Dakota Skye is full of life questions and philosophies. At the heart of this story is a dilemma of the human condition that we can all relate to – who do we trust? How do we know we can trust them? What if we make the wrong decision and end up hurt?
Sentimental without being cheesy, romantic without being cliche and realistic without being boring, Dakota Skye is a film I would recommend to almost anyone who has an interest in reading people, social anthropology and just…being human.
- Funny, intelligent, unique dialogue and characters
- Great characterisation and immense level of relatability
- Thought-provoking situations and intriguing plot
- If you’re not in the mood to be absorbed in to this film, the events can seem too fast and non-sensical
- Not one for children due to heavy drug use and cursing
After watching Dakota Skye for the first time at 19 years old, the film restored my faith in genuine personal (and yes, romantic) connections, and the power of being found.
You’re going to have to trust me.
That’s it – I just…don’t know how to do that.